I am going to start off by saying there is no exact way to perform keyword research for SEO. In fact, there is no such thing as perfect keywords. When choosing keywords for SEO, ideal keywords are those with high searches and low competition. Therefore, the trick to keyword research is making an educated decision to find ideal keywords. So before you jump head first into finding keywords, take some time to create a plan of attack.
Here a few things to consider BEFORE starting keyword research:
1. Who Is Your Target Market?
Last week we discussed the importance of knowing your target market. We did a short exercise to give your ideal customer an identity, to make them a real person instead of just a piece of data.
Thinking of your target market as a person will help you to determine:
- What type of language you should use.
- How technical you should be.
- What their level of knowledge on your topic is.
- What words or phrases they may use in a search engine to find you.
Ultimately it is important to answer the question: How does your website solve the problem that others don’t?
2. Check Your Competition
This process is as easy as going to Google and entering a general search term which sums up your website. Using general terms allows you to see your biggest competitors. Don’t be intimidated by the big guys though. Your keyword research may uncover a niche that you didn’t even know existed.
To view their source code click the “view” button in your browser. Then click “view source”. This will open up a new window full of code. Find the keywords by finding the term “keywords”.
- command+F for MAC users
- control+F for PC users
Take note of the keywords the competition uses. You don’t necessarily want to use these keywords, but they might give you some ideas for your keyword research.
3. Create a Road Map
Next, make a road map of the main ideas of your website. Doing this will help to organize ideas. I find it easiest to start with the pages on your website and work down to more specific ideas. Here is a road map for an imaginary pet store in Dallas, TX:
- Pet store (home page):
- Specialty pet store Dallas, Texas
- Pet boutique Dallas, Texas
- Grooming (page):
- Nail trimming
- Dog washing
- Teeth cleaning
- Training (page):
- Adult dogs
- Products (page):
- Dog beds
- Veterinary Services (page):
- Booster shots
- Check ups
- Emergency services
In this example the pet store is broken up into 4 categories, which are the different pages on the site: grooming, training, products, and veterinary services. From there I have listed the main points on each page. These main points are very general, because this is just a skeleton to help organize future keywords.
Beef it Up!
Once this initial list is put into excel, you are ready to start some quality keyword research! Here are some great tools:
- Keyword Discovery
- Market Samurai
- Google Keyword Tool [FREE]
- Google Trends [FREE]
- SEO Digger
- Keyword Spy
Keep in Mind
Long-tail keywords are ideal! These are phrases that are three words or more. According to research, using long-tail keywords shows a greater commitment to buy. One or two words, exhibits more of a shopping around mentality.
For Example: Instead of using something like “grooming”, think more in terms of “affordable dog grooming”.
Long Story Short:
- Keyword research is time consuming, but it is well worth the work.
- Start out your keyword research with a plan of action. This will help to prevent backtracking and repeating steps.
- SEO is a never-ending process. Be sure to go back to your keywords to periodically do maintenance.
- Integrate your keywords into your site’s content. The more keywords in your site’s content, the more likely a search engine spider will pick up on your site.